Friday, March 18, 2011

Pretty Party

I finally had a little while to get into the studio yesterday. Since I have not had a chance to paint (traditionally) in several days, I noticed an interesting phenomenon, one that I'm quite familiar with. There is an apprehension that wells up when starting a new painting, if I have not been painting everyday. It goes something like this - 'how do you do this again?,' 'can I paint that?', 'it's so detailed, I'll never get those color/value/shapes to read right', 'i bet this one will be a flop', 'where do i begin?' and on and on.... Just putting that first stroke on the canvas is actually a feat of courage, knowing that all color relationships depend on whats around them, and there is nothing yet to judge by. It's very much like putting the first piece of a 1000 piece puzzle right smack in the middle without any point of reference and knowing that the journey ahead is somewhat daunting.
Does this mental rambling sound familiar? Come to think of it, everytime I do something new in life, in general, some form of this fear raises its ugly head. The good thing about getting older is that it doesn't stop me in my tracks anymore. My favorite saying is "feel the fear and do it anyways" which is also the title of a book I read in the early 90's, which forever changed my relationship to fear. The big revelation from reading the book was ... drum roll... the fear never goes away. (Damn! Thats not what I was hoping) The other revelation was, since the fear never goes away, get comfortable with being uncomfortable - which means you are growing - which is why we are here (in my humble opinion). For me, the best way to deal with fear is to just dive in, head first. Starting a drawing, starting a painting, starting anything that requires you do dig inside and make hundreds of decisions and think on your feet, IS daunting. It is uncomfortable do a painting or drawing that turns out poorly. But the alternative, not doing anything for fear it won't turn out well - is stagnating (for me). So what if its a flop, so what if its hard, so what if I make hundreds of wrong decisions? No doubt I will learn something from the endeavor, but best of all I'll show my old pal fear, who's boss - again.

Pretty Party
6x6" Oil on Gessoboard


Adria Arch said...

I can just smell the lipstick - reminds me of going through my mother's cosmetics when I was little and breathing in their perfumey, grown up, sophisticated scent.

Unknown said...

Patti, I can definitely relate to your blog post today. At 62 I thought I would learn to not be afraid...I also read the book. Sometimes the fear is "time is running out in my life to get it right". But luckily my will to paint is most always stronger than the fear...some days not. Love, love your paintings.

Jerry Stocks said...

Not only do I love the painting, but I really did need this lecture. Enough said for right now, but I am working on a plan in my head that I may present to you in the near future.

Paul Oratofsky said...

I also connected with your comments today, and have the same feelings you mention. I also realize that I've learned how to recover quickly - and I think that's important for art, craft, or life - and makes it easier to plunge into things, and softens the failures.

I also love this painting - and in general I think your oils are fantastic, whatever their subject. I feel they're far better than what you create in any other medium.

Patti Mollica said...

Thanks for your comments everyone. I got a lot of emails from people who definately related to the "fear inertia" factor. My only way to keep it at bay is to keep the paint flowing so the work does not feel so "precious" that I can't make mistakes. Its funny - 6x6" seems so small - till you start painting on it, suddenly it feels 60x60. its challenging stuff no matter what the size. I guess that what keeps pulling us back to the easel day after day, month after month, decade after decade!

Unknown said...

All the things girls just love and these colors are yummy! Fear...ummm...there is plenty of that, but I find the challenges smother the fear most of the time. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Patti.